Cloud hosting seems to be the rage these days, and for very good reasons.
When you decide to look into transitioning the computer network and operations of your business or organization to cloud hosting, you will probably be faced with conflicting advice, confusion and no real answers to your questions and concerns over security, cost and whether or not it’s appropriate for your organization.
Besides that, the simple fact is, cloud hosting is NOT a good fit for every company, and consequently, if you don’t get all the facts or fully understand the pros and cons, you can end up making some VERY poor and expensive decisions that you’ll deeply regret later.
What Is Cloud Hosting?
In a basic sense, it is using the computer resources of bigger companies to run your business and store your data without paying for the electricity, people, and hardware needed if you were to buy the computers and servers yourself.
In fact, you are probably already experiencing the benefits of cloud hosting in some way but may not have realized it. Below are a number of cloud hosted applications, also called SaaS or “software as a service,” you might be using:
- Gmail, or other free e-mail accounts
- NetSuite, Salesforce
- Online invoicing or book-keeping service
- Constant Contact, Exact Target, AWeber or other e-mail broadcasting services
- Zoomerang, Survey Monkey and other survey tools
- All things Google (search, AdWords, maps, etc.)
If you think about it, almost every single application you use today can be (or already is) being put “in the cloud” where you can access it and pay for it via your browser for a monthly fee or utility pricing. You don’t purchase and install software but instead access it via an Internet browser.
For super busy CEOs, Executive Directors and Print Shop Managers in Round Rock and surrounding cities, here is a simple, straightforward guide that not only answers your questions in plain English, but in this article we’re going to talk about five very important facts you need to know before you consider cloud hosting for your company or organization.
These include vital experience-based information that most IT companies don’t know (or may not tell you) that could turn your migration into a big, cash-draining nightmare.
Fact 1: Cloud-Based Services Have Great Benefits And Some Difficult Challenges
Certainly, using cloud technologies may be able to eliminate the cost, complexity and problems of managing your own in-house servers while giving you more freedom, lowered costs, tighter security and instant disaster recovery. I say “may” because it might NOT be the best choice for you. However, there are challenges like the Internet going down.
Even with a commercial-grade Internet connection and maintaining a second backup connection, there is a chance you’ll lose Internet connectivity, making it impossible to work.
In addition, data security is always a concern. Many people don’t feel comfortable having their data in some off-site location. This is a valid concern, and before you choose any cloud provider, you need to find out more information about where they are storing your data, how it’s encrypted, who has access and how you can get it back.
Likewise, there are compliance issues you need to be aware of. A number of laws and regulations, such as Gramm-Leach-Bliley, Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA, require companies to control and protect their data and certify that they have knowledge and control over who can access the data, who sees it and how and where it is stored.
In a public cloud environment, this can be a problem. Many cloud providers won’t tell you specifically where your data is stored.
Fact 2: Migration to the Cloud Has Some Gotchas
When done right, a migration to Office 365 or another cloud solution for example, should be like any other migration. There’s planning that needs to be done, prerequisites that have to be determined and the inevitable “quirks” that need to be ironed out once you make the move.
Because every company has its own unique environment, it’s practically impossible to try and plan for every potential pitfall; however, here are some BIG things to keep in mind BEFORE making the leap.
Some organizations cannot afford ANY downtime, while others can do without their network for a day or two. Make sure you communicate YOUR specific needs regarding downtime and make sure your IT provider has a solid plan to prevent extended downtime.
Painfully Slow Performance
Ask your IT consultant if there’s any way you can run your network in a test environment before making the full migration. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you migrate your network and discover everything is running so slow you can barely work! Again, every environment is slightly different, so it’s best to test before you transition.
To read the rest of the article, send a request for the Report on Cloud Hosting Readiness.
Is your business in Round Rock ready to move to the cloud?
I encourage you to take advantage of this before making any decisions since we’ve designed it to take a hard look at the functionality and costs for you as a business and provide you with the specific information you need (not hype) to make a good decision about this new technology.